‘Gambia Constitution provides for the protection of Rights, Freedoms’

Civil society leader tells Police officers as they receive training on Human Rights
By Sanna Camara
Chapter IV of the 1997 Constitution of the Gambia provides for the protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, Mr. Yahya Sanyang, Chairman of the association of NGOs in The Gambia, has told Police officers yesterday as they start a five-day intensive training on human rights.
According to Mr. Sanyang, these rights as provided in the constitution includes the right to life, right to personal liberty, protection from inhuman and degrading treatment, protection from slavery and forced labour, rights of women and children , rights of the disabled, Freedom of Speech, Conscience, Assembly, Association, Movement .
All these bill of rights gears towards ensuring the full protection of the rights and dignity of all persons irrespective of affiliations …, he argued.
Protected and guaranteed…
Sanyang said human rights and the law are inextricably linked and it cannot be protected and guaranteed in the absence of the law: “I believe it is the law that guarantees that all human beings are treated equally at least in theory. What happens with regards to the application and enforcement of the law is another matter”.
“Under International Law, States have both ‘progressive’ and immediate obligations to ensure or realize the rights of all individuals within the confines of the state and these are: the obligations to respect, the obligation to protect and the obligation to fulfill the fundamental rights and dignity of all persons within the state irrespective of race, gender, class, social and political opinion, creed and the like,” Sanyang added.
Police have a primary responsibility
“In the Gambia as in many other countries, the police have a primary responsibility in law enforcement. An enhanced understanding of human rights principles, standards and application by the police will no doubt contribute … in the improvement of human rights worldwide and in conformity with the law,” Mr. Sanyang told the Police.
In a sdtatement dispatched to the media, TANGO said it has “received with delight and encouragement” the establishment of a Human Rights Unit for the Gambia Police Force.

Build the capacity and professionalism
“TANGO strongly believes that human rights is both a culture and a system that enables all citizens and institutions of society and its various parts to develop in peace and harmony,” the statement notes, adding that it also considers the Gambia Police Force as a primary duty bearer in the defense of human rights and the rule of law in the Gambia, and therefore a major pillar of national security.
The Gambia Police Force therefore deserves all the support necessary to build the capacity and professionalism of its men and women to conduct their work in line with international standards and values that underpin police work in the world, the statement argues.

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